There has been countless words and reports already written about the 2018 harvest in Bordeaux and what wines we can expect from this vintage. But if you really want to know what is going on then go and ask an independent winemaker producing his own wine in Bordeaux, with no axes to grind or PR to spin. Like Gavin Quinney of Château Bauduc who also happens to be one of the leading and most respected commentators on the overall Bordeaux wine scene. Here are his main takeaways from what looks like being a very good year.
UB40’s song ‘Red, Red Wine’ has been a part of all our lives since 1983 – whether we wanted it or not. Played at discos, parties, weddings, conferences, and even funerals. It’s the song that made the band world famous. Fast forward to 2019 and the original UB40 has split up but lives on with two of its original members, UB40 with Ali (Campbell) and Astro. So when the chance came for them to turn what had always been an interest in wine into actually making a wine, they jumped at the chance. Alistair Morrell explains how it happened and why it is far more than just a celebrity wine brand.
The Majestic Wine saga continues to throw up twists and turns as chief executive, Rowan Gormley, looks to reshape and rebrand as a strong and sustainable Naked Wines business into the new financial year. Discussions will be ongoing and the future will likely be uncertain for employees up until, and even potentially after, the investor presentation on June 13. Mike Turner experienced first hand during his days in the City the plight as an employee seeing his livelihood discussed and deliberated in the press, and offers some well meant advice to Gormley and Naked Wines about how it handles its communications and support to its staff during this time of uncertainty.
The global phenomenon of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc continues to sell huge quantities around the world. The winegrowers, however, are not content to rest on their laurels and continue to experiment and discuss the next steps for this global wine brand. Mike Turner recently attended the 2019 Sauvignon Blanc Conference in Blenheim to hear all about these next steps and came away with his own opinions on what’s needed in the coming years – looking at site selection, experiments in the cellar, climate change and making lower alcohol wines.
So you have your business plan all sorted, know who your target audience is and think you have a product or service that they are going to love. But how do you make them even know you exist, never mind part with money to buy what you have? In part two of his series of articles on how to get on top of your marketing, Jeremy Thomson of the Common Collective, looks at the different marketing channels that are available and picks out the ones that are most likely to be relevant to you.
The trickle of wineries that are converting to organics has become a steady stream in the last few years as both producers and consumers change their view on the quality and trading potential of this segment of industry. One subset of these conversions is those wineries pushing into the world of biodynamics. Despite being often misunderstood, and occasionally treated with flippant disdain, Mike Turner argues that says more about the commentator than the practices themselves, and hopes more wineries follow the lead of the brilliant Millton Vineyard and take the plunge in the coming years.
Ever stopped and wondered what makes you buy one shampoo or conditioner brand over another? Or what toothpaste you trust for your teeth? A large part of that decision making will come down to the power that brand has over you in terms of the messages and values it stands for. Yet in wine the vast majority of products all look and feel the same. It does not have to be that way, says advertising consultant Alex Ririe, who has helped a raft of major drinks brands stand out from the competition.
With an absence of a generic Champagne tasting event in the UK this year, the gap is being filled by a variety of privately-run events. Cue The Wine Gang’s Champagne and Sparkling Wine Festival which takes place on April 25 in Central London in which, for the first time, the four wine experts will be pitting Champagne against all manner of other sparklers – including fizz from Croatia and Japan. Anthony Rose, one of the original members of The Wine Gang, explains the thinking behind the event and what makes these four ‘Mousse-keteers’ such a special group of wine experts.
Remember the closing scene from Rocky? When he has his showdown with Apollo? As humans we love stories, especially ones with symbolic meanings like Rocky. Stories don’t just activate the “language processing” left side of our brain, but the right side too, which triggers feelings and emotions. Sudhir Kumar, marketing director from Origin, discusses why storytelling is important in brand marketing, and what drinks businesses can learn from the cult boxing film Rocky.
For Silvano Brescianini, head of the Franciacorta Consortium, the rise of Prosecco has been a good thing because it has introduced a whole new demographic to Italian sparkling wine. But quality will out, he believes, and that can only be good news for Franciacorta and its quest to firmly establish itself in the premium on-trade. Victor Smart tasted the bubbles at London’s HIDE restaurant.
Chile has historically only had a small number of iconic wines but that is all set to change argues Geoffrey Dean. Fresh from two weeks of travelling through the country, he reports that there is a second tier of wine producers who are all vying for the equivalent of a ‘Champion’s League’ spot and making legitimate claims to be the ‘next big thing’. Dean meets the winemakers and tastes the wines – highlighting those that he thinks should be on every sommelier’s radar.
With the rise of our homegrown fizz making such a big splash, our very own globe-trotting Chef Editor, who is also the Ambassador for The Champagne and Sparkling Wine World Championships takes a global look at the Sparkling Wine industry. The use of the term Non Vintage, pricing, the disregard for Cava and MCC, the rise of ‘new’ countries like India and China, and where Champagne sits… all this and much more in an insightful report from a man who used to drink Dom Perignon while his rugby teammates were drinking pints.
If you are heading to Prowein next week then you might want to get yourself there on time on the last day in order to hear leading wine critic and commentator, Tim Atkin MW, revisit for the first time the subject that helped him become a Master of Wine, and his dissertation on the intricacies of Hungary’s iconic wine region, Tokaj. Here Atkin shares just what it was – and is – that has enchanted him so much over the years.
Although we in the trade know of four distinct styles of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, customers are less aware, even though they definitely know what they like and what they don’t like. A recent study supported by the Institute of Masters of Wine that is a collaboration between Saint Clair Family Estate and yeast producer Lallemand makes for fascinating reading. Wine expert Jamie Goode, who took part in the research, argues that the report is far from conclusive but does give winemakers and everyone in the trade a revealing look at what styles of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc customers prefer and why.
The New Zealand wine industry has been dominated by the global phenomenon of their zingy, tropical fruit-heavy Marlborough Sauvignon Blancs for decades. On a recent trip around New Zealand’s wine regions, The Buyer’s Mike Turner discovered why it’s time that other grapes and regions in this beautiful country take centre stage, and none more so than the wonderful Syrahs coming out of Hawke’s Bay.
Hands up if you have been to wine competition’s awards evening where the majority of people are in jeans, you’ve got a northern comedian pulling it all together, and there are pizzas galore to tuck into? Welcome to the People’s Choice Wine Awards which saw winemakers, producers, retailers and suppliers all rewarded for their efforts thanks to the votes of the average consumer who buys their wines. It’s such a welcome, refreshing new arrival on the awards calendar that it can only go from strength to strength. Richard Siddle puts down his margherita to share his memories of a great night.
At the recent Maison Marques et Domaines portfolio tasting in London, senior winemaker at Delas Frères, Claire Darnaud unveiled a new Hermitage cuvée not yet commercially released. As a matter of urgency, The Buyer sent its intrepid Rhône specialist Bart Feys to sample this latest expression from the fabled Hermitage hill and to ponder the virtues of single site versus blended Hermitage.
As co-founder of the hugely influential Italian wine body the Gambero Rosso, Daniele Cernilli has been a major player in the Italian wine scene for over 40 years. With the publication of the new edition of his definitive Essential Guide to Italian Wine 2019, Daniele, aka Doctor Wine, explains how Italian wine has changed over the last few decades, where it is headed and which are the Italian regions and wines that are a must for us to discover this year.
If you didn’t know that Burnley Miners’ Social Club is the world’s largest consumer of Bénédictine, then you obviously haven’t read That’s the Spirit! the latest book by Jonathan Ray, the drinks editor for The Spectator. In the book Ray looks at how some of the world’s most famous spirits brands came into being but also sheds some light on some of the more obscure beverages such as Tuaca, Bobby’s Schiedam Jenever, Ki No Bi Kyoto Dry Gin and Spirit of Hven Organic Summer Spirit – and also throws in some obscure morsels like the ‘Burnley Benedictine conundrum’ and how it came into being.
Hundreds of delegates gathered in Marseille for the 5th annual International Rosé Symposium. Celebrating sales success, the industry is dominated by Provence with its world-famous light pink wines, but there are clouds on the horizon, with climate change and water shortages forcing producers to embrace change, as David Kermode reports.